Debunking Clark Baker’s “Analysis” of Flow Cytometry: Part I

I am so happy.  Clark Baker has done something he has not done since he stopped his ExLiberal blog.  He has delved into writing about science.  I love when Mr. Baker does this.  It is highly entertaining. This time Mr. Baker decided to write about a very complex technology: Flow Cytometry.  If you do decide to read Mr. Baker’s post in full, I highly suggest you read it very slowly.  A slow read (with lots of alcohol)  may keep you from going crazy and/or your head exploding from the sheer amount of stupid.  Mr. Baker’s “analysis” of Flow Cytometry and his subsequent finding that it is “wholly unreliable” is a very poorly written mash up of unsubstantiated claims.  If Mr. Baker were not such an egotistical buffoon, he would be very embarrassed by presenting such nonsensical rubbish.  I have decided this website is perfect for debunking any “science” Mr. Baker attempts in regards to HIV science.As usual, Mr. Baker is all over the place and he forces together concepts that have little or nothing to do with the topic at hand.  He also stretches and manipulates information to make his point.  Unfortunately for Mr. Baker, he has so little grasp of the topic that the information either has absolutely no bearing on the topic or it completely supports the opposite of what Mr. Baker is trying to prove.This happens on a large scale with two separate ideals:

1.       Office of Technology Assessment (OTA)

2.       Citizens United VS. Federal Election Commission

It’s difficult to deal with Mr. Baker’s assertions one at a time because of the nature of his writing.  As I have stated, Mr. Baker can not seem to organize his thoughts and present them systematically.  Instead, he mashes them all up together and presents a completely ludicrous conclusion.  He does this here by trying to force a 1978 Report by the OTA into a conclusion supposedly supported by a Supreme Court ruling “which held that the First Amendment prohibits government from censoring political broadcasts in candidate elections when those broadcasts are funded by corporations or unions.”

However, Mr. Baker falsely claims:  The U.S. Supreme Court sealed the fate of future scientific transparency by ruling in favor or corporate interests.”

If Mr. Baker really believes this court case supports such an assumption, he needs to explicitly explain “why”.  It is not adequate to simply say so.

Not only does that landmark case have nothing to do with scientific transparency, neither does the 1978 Report by the OTA entitled Assessing the Efficacy and Safety of Medical Technologies (AESMT).  Mr. Baker adequately copy/pastes this from the report:

Evidence indicates that many technologies are not adequately assessed before they enjoy widespread use… Many technologies which have been used extensively have later been shown to be of limited usefulness”…and “… only 10 to 20 percent of all procedures currently used in medical practice have been shown to be efficacious by controlled trial.”

However, Mr. Baker’s next sentence is such a misrepresentation to be either a bold faced lie, or further evidence of Mr. Baker’s extremely limited understanding of said report:

“The report implied that 80% to 90% of all routinely-performed procedures are unproven – a conclusion that implicates the technology of flow cytometry that uses immunophenotyping to identify antigen markers on various cell populations.”

The only part Mr. Baker got even remotely accurate was the part about “controlled trials.”  The brunt of the OTA Report from 1978 dealt with procedures that were accepted as standard of care but were not considered at the time to have been completely proven via controlled clinical trials.  In addition, the OTA itself was created to aid Congress in implementing Public Policy as it pertains to technology.  And technology, despite Mr. Baker’s inference, was not diagnostic and research devices, (which the AESMT Report emphatically stated was under the regulation of the FDA), was medical procedures in the AESMT Report.

“Certain programs for evaluating efficacy and safety are required by Federal law. The

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) administers regulatory programs which are limited to medical products—drugs and devices. Manufacturers of these products are legally required to conduct efficacy and safety tests using the FDA guidelines. In addition, products must be licensed for marketing by FDA.”

A list of 17 Case Studies to highlight these procedures was included in the report:

1.      Pap Smear

2.      Amniocentesis

3.      Chicken Pox Vaccine

4.      Mammography

5.      Prophylactic Oral Antibiotics in Elective Colon Surgery

6.      Skull X-Ray

7.      Electronic Fetal Monitoring

8.      Surgery for Coronary Artery Disease

9.      Tonsillectomy

10.  Appendectomy

11.  Hysterectomy

12.  Drug Treatment for Hypertension

13.  Drug Treatment for Otitis Media in Children

14.  Cast Application for Forearm Fracture

15.  Treatment of Hodgkin’s Disease

16.  Chemotherapy for Lung Cancer

17.  Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment for Cognitive Deficits in the Elderly

From these case studies, it is obvious that the AESMT Report had nothing at all to do with Flow Cytometry or any type of Diagnostic or Research Equipment/Device.  Furthermore, this Report was to identify AND CORRECT any findings.  Mr. Baker, however, implies that the findings from 1978 are still in tact and have never been addressed or corrected.

Although Part I adequately proves that Mr. Baker is simply making stuff up out of thin air, I am now preparing Part II to deal with the Quality Assurance/Quality Control portion which will put the nail in this coffin.

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